Press Methods Used By Two French Winemakers

As harvest continues for some and wraps up for others, attention turns to pressing the grapes and getting optimal results.

For the September/October issue on best crush practices, Vintner Magazine received feedback from a pair of French wine producers who shared some international insight on how they get the most from their grapes.

At Château Luchey Halde in France, Sales Manager Nadège Giamarchi said the winemaking team said a long slow press with a pneumatic press was the method the Bordeaux producer believed to be best.

“We crush the entire bunches because the steam facilitates the evacuation of the juice out of the press,” Giamarchi said. “The quality of the machine is very important.”

At Vignobles Reynaud (also located in France), the Reynaud family uses a number of practices that depend on the quality of the fruit they’re working with.

“Our most used practice is automatic winding, or one pump per tank managed by an automaton,” a spokesperson for the family said. “This allows continuous wetting of the pomace cap in small volumes. This technique can be replaced or supplemented by the ‘rack and return’ technique, where the fermenting juice is drained to another tank and then promptly pumped back on top of the cap.”

For their top-end cuvées, the Reynauds have adopted  “integral vinification,” or vinification in barrels. The barrels are kept horizontally on oxoline wheels. 

“We practice extraction by rotating the barrel, which puts the marc back into immersion in the wine so we have a smooth, complete extraction,” the family spokesperson said. “Then, it’s possible to practice the punching of the cap, but we do not use it at home to date.”

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